Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has sent out illegal fundraising emails soliciting donations from foreign politicians. Under Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules, it is illegal for a candidate to solicit money from non-U.S. citizens or green-card holders. Watchdog groups have sprung into action and filed complaints against the Trump campaign to the FEC in hopes that the Commission will halt the illegal activity and penalize the campaign.
On Monday, British Member of Parliament (MP) Natalie McGarry tweeted that she had received a Trump campaign fundraising email.
May be Donald Trump bought lists – bizarre for grassroots campaign – but how does he opt out of foreign donations? pic.twitter.com/jVwfdFnI6U
— Natalie McGarry MP (@NatalieMcgarry) June 27, 2016
Soon other British MPs reported that they were also receiving the same emails, along with Canadian, Icelandic, Australian, and Danish MPs.
On Tuesday, British MP Roger Gale complained in Parliament:
“Members of Parliament are being bombarded by electronic communications from Team Trump on behalf of somebody called Donald Trump. Mr Speaker, I’m all in favour of free speech but I don’t see why colleagues on either side of the House should be subjected to intemperate spam. Efforts to try to have these deleted have failed. I wonder if you’d be kind enough to intercede with the Digital Services Department to see if they may be blocked.”
While foreign politicians find the emails annoying or a possible source of anti-Trump comedy, what Trump is doing is seriously illegal. It appears that his campaign was unable to develop its own email list, so it bought email lists without knowing who was really on them. If the campaign has accepted any money from foreigners it will be required to pay them back, and the legal repercussions might prove fatal for the campaign.
This scandal walks a fine line between total incompetence and gross disregard for electoral laws that are designed to prevent cheating in elections. Trump clearly has poor oversight of his campaign and adherence to the law might be negligent; this is not a man who can manage a campaign, much less an entire country and the world’s strongest military. Trump may have gotten away with decades of cheating and sidestepping laws in business, but he cannot get away with it in politics.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.